ATLANTA, Ga. – The Centers for Disease Control has begun shipping its coronavirus testing kits to select U.S. and international laboratories.
The CDC hopes the distribution of the kits will help improve the global capacity to detect and respond to the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
The CDC says the kits are designed to be used with an instrument that is commonly used to test for seasonal influenza. They’re meant to be used with upper and lower respiratory specimens collected from people who are suspected of having the virus.
According to the CDC, the tests use a technology that can provide results in four hours from initial sample processing to result.
“Our goal is early detection of new cases and to prevent further spread of the coronavirus,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “Distribution of these diagnostic tests to state laboratories, U.S. government partners and more broadly to the global public health community will accelerate efforts to confront this evolving global public health challenge.”
Initially, about 200 kits will be distributed to U.S. domestic laboratories and a similar amount will be distributed to select international laboratories. Each test kit can test approximately 700 to 800 patient specimens.
Additional test kits will be produced and made available for ordering in the future.
As of Thursday, more than 560 people have died from the virus in China and over 28,000 cases have been confirmed in the country, according to the World Health Organization. Officials say there are also 225 cases outside the country and one death.
In the United States, the CDC has confirmed 11 cases of the virus. A twelfth case was confirmed in Wisconsin on Wednesday by the state’s department of health.
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